Tuesday, 10 December 2013

House of Bishops agree next steps towards Women in the Episcopate

Today’s press release following this week’s meeting of the House of Bishops includes this paragraph.

As part of their discussion on Women in the Episcopate, the House heard from members of the steering committee on women bishops on suggestions for the next steps in the process. The House agreed the text of a draft declaration and regulations for a mandatory disputes resolution procedure for debate at General Synod in February 2014. The House also agreed to begin at the February Synod the process for rescinding the 1993 Act of Synod so that all the elements of the new package could be agreed by the synod in July 2014.

The full press release is copied below the fold.

Meeting of House of Bishops December 2013
10 December 2013

The House of Bishops of the Church of England met for two days in York on December 9 and December 10. This meeting was the first at which 8 women regional representatives attended the meeting as participant observers with the same rights as Provincial Episcopal Visitors.

Over its meeting the House covered a wide range of business including discussion of women in the episcopate, the Pilling report, the approval of experimental liturgy for Baptism, changes to legislative approaches on Safeguarding and discussion of the Anglican-Methodist covenant.

As part of their discussion on Women in the Episcopate, the House heard from members of the steering committee on women bishops on suggestions for the next steps in the process. The House agreed the text of a draft declaration and regulations for a mandatory disputes resolution procedure for debate at General Synod in February 2014. The House also agreed to begin at the February Synod the process for rescinding the 1993 Act of Synod so that all the elements of the new package could be agreed by the synod in July 2014.

The House discussed and approved proposals for a new governance framework to enable the Church to develop a strategic vision for safeguarding. The House also approved proposed recommendations for legislative changes on safeguarding to be brought to General Synod.

Sir Joseph Pilling attended the House to introduce a discussion on ways to address the recently published report on Human Sexuality, a paper commissioned by the House of Bishops as a report to the House.

Following the mandate from the General Synod in 2011, the House also discussed and gave its support for the experimental use of new additional liturgy for the Baptism of infants and young children. The new texts will be made available for use in January 2014 until April 2014 and will be discussed again by the House during its meeting in May.

The House also received updates on a range of work being undertaken in areas of ministerial education, training and clergy discipline.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 10 December 2013 at 7:40pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod
Comments

Any leaks on what they said about Pilling?

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Tuesday, 10 December 2013 at 8:49pm GMT

"The House also agreed to begin at the February Synod the process for rescinding the 1993 Act of Synod so that all the elements of the new package could be agreed by the synod in July 2014."

I'm intrigued by the intention to rescind the 1993 Act of synod. It would be interesting, at this point in the proceedings, to know what that would entail. And, how will it affect the arrangement surrounding the provision/or not/ for those in the Church of England who don't want Women clergy or bishops on their patch but still want to be part of the Church of England?

If 'special provision' will be voluntary (on the part of the diocesan bishop), will this satisfy those who believe that women cannot be bishops?
That will surely influence the outcome of the ongoing conversations.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 12 December 2013 at 9:48am GMT

You have misunderstood the proposals Father Ron. The provision will not be voluntary, it will be regulated, underpinned by a Solemn Act of Declaration from the House of Bishops, which has more teeth than the current Act of Synod.

Posted by: Benedict on Thursday, 12 December 2013 at 1:52pm GMT

To clarify further, see Annex A of GS 1924 for the initial draft House of Bishops' Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests.
http://www.churchofengland.org/media/1872454/gs%201924%20-%20report%20of%20the%20steering%20committee%20for%20the%20draft%20legislation%20on%20women%20in%20the%20episcopate.pdf

This provides, inter alia, the arrangement which will replace the 1993 Act of Synod. Other parts of it will replace certain provisions in the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993 which is expressly repealed by the proposed new measure.

The rescinding of an Act of Synod requires only a simple majority, not a two-thirds.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 12 December 2013 at 3:36pm GMT

"Provision" for those who deny the ordination of women is at-odds with both catholicity and geographical parishes. A congregation that's allowed to bar half the human race from leadership is acting more like exclusive brethren than a parish church. "Provision" imposes beliefs on everyone who lives in a square of the map. Liberalism is tolerating behavior you disagree with *provided it doesn't harm others against their will*. The qualification has been forgotten.

These measures will diminish gender discrimination in the priesthood, but at the price of entrenching freedom of oppression within the church.

Posted by: James Byron on Thursday, 12 December 2013 at 10:17pm GMT

It seems James Byron's brand of liberalism only allows for his own point of view. That is not liberalism at all.

Posted by: Benedict on Friday, 13 December 2013 at 3:37pm GMT

I believe, Benedict, that anyone has the right to hold and express any view they like. That does not extend to office holders having the right to impose their views on everyone with the misfortune to be within their jurisdiction.

Would you defend the right of a racist minister, a devout believer in the curse of Ham, to implement segregation on his watch? If not, you accept the principle, and we disagree only about details.

Posted by: James Byron on Friday, 13 December 2013 at 11:52pm GMT

"The provision will not be voluntary, it will be regulated, underpinned by a Solemn Act of Declaration from the House of Bishops, which has more teeth than the current Act of Synod."
- Benedict -

First of all; thank you Simon for allowing access to the actual report on the intended legislation

However, in the light of Benedict's continuing insistence that the diocesan bishop's consent is, perforce; "regulated, underpinned by a Solemn Act of Declaration from the House of Bishops, which has more teeth than the current Act of Synod." ;
how does this square with the expectation that the diocesan bishop (whether he or she) will still have the authority to say 'yes' or 'no' to the arrangement being requested?

In other words, will the diocesan still have un-compromised authority, to say yes or no? to the alternative episcopal identity requested? Or will the legislation actually undermine that authority?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 13 December 2013 at 11:58pm GMT

James Byron, by the terms of your own argument, what about parishioners within a particular jurisdiction who are opposed to the ordination of women and yet are overseen by a female priest?? Are we to ride roughshod over them? That can also be seen as an imposition of views.

Posted by: Benedict on Saturday, 14 December 2013 at 1:37pm GMT

If a person can't bear to be ministered to by a woman, they should look elsewhere for their spiritual needs, and lobby the church to reverse course.

Yes Benedict, it's an imposition, just as it's an imposition to deny a devout racist a segregated congregation. The CofE's in the mess it is out of a refusal to take a decision and stand by it. "Two integrities" is the theological and practical nonsense you get when you refuse to face conflict head-on.

Now, back to my question: should believers in the curse of Ham be given provision? I say no. What do you say?

Posted by: James Byron on Saturday, 14 December 2013 at 7:03pm GMT
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